Birth Control Pill: What is it, Advantages and Disadvantages, How to Use, Side Effects
There are various birth control methods that men and women can use for family planning.
There are various birth control methods that men and women can use for family planning. One of these, birth control pills, is an effective birth control method that can be used by sexually active women. These pills are wondered by many people in terms of issues such as mechanism of action, side effects, advantages and disadvantages and reliability. However, birth control pills are a contraceptive method that is accepted by physicians today, is effective and can be used by all healthy women. Therefore, women who want to protect themselves from pregnancy can get information about birth control pills by consulting their doctors and undergo a general examination and get their doctor’s opinion about preventing pregnancy with birth control pills.
What is the Birth Control Pill?
Birth control pills are a birth control method used by women and can prevent pregnancy from occurring at a very high rate despite unprotected sexual intercourse. These hormone-containing pills are also called hormonal contraceptives because of their ingredients or oral contraceptives because they are taken by mouth. These pills are 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, it does not protect against HIV, gonorrhea, or any other sexually transmitted disease. Birth control pills contain a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone or the hormone progesterone alone. The hormones contained in the pills are synthetic, in other words man-made hormones, and they have the same effect as their natural forms produced in the female body. The type of hormone it contains and the hormonal balance of the pills to be used in a cycle may be different for each type of birth control pill. Not all of these pills are suitable for every woman to use. Therefore, it is recommended to get a doctor’s opinion before starting to use birth control pills.
Birth Control Pill Advantages
Birth control pills have significant advantages over many other birth control methods. For this reason, it is often preferred by women to protect themselves from pregnancy. Some of these advantages can be listed as follows:
- By providing 24/7 protection, it does not require any additional procedures regarding birth control in case of sexual intercourse, so it does not create any anxiety or preparation requirements.
- It helps regulate the menstrual cycle, prevent anemia, maintain hormonal balance, and treat some hormonal-related diseases such as hair growth and acne.
- It eliminates this problem in women with painful menstrual periods and makes menstrual bleeding less and painless.
- It has a much higher effect than many birth control methods.
- Once its use is stopped, fertility ability is regained in a short time.
Birth Control Pill Disadvantages
The most important disadvantage of birth control pills is that they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. To protect against such infections, women who are protected from pregnancy with birth control pills should additionally take care to use condoms. The most effective method to protect against sexually transmitted diseases is the use of condoms, which is a type of barrier protection. Therefore, the combination of birth control pills and condom use will provide effective protection against diseases. Birth control pills can also be preferred alone, as the risk of sexually transmitted diseases is lower in individuals who are monogamous and have regular health checks. The decision on this matter belongs to the individual.
How to use the birth control pill?
Combination type pills, which contain estrogen and progesterone hormones, have three different subgroups. The first of these, monophasic pills, is used in a monthly cycle and each pill contains equal amounts of estrogen and progesterone. While active (hormone-containing) pills are taken throughout the cycle, inactive pills are taken for a period of time at the end of the cycle, during which menstrual bleeding occurs. The second group, multiphasic pills, provide different levels of estrogen and progesterone during the cycle. Just like monophasic pills, inactive pills are taken at the end of the cycle and menstruation occurs during this period. The third group, extended cycle pills, is used in 13-week cycles. After taking active pills for 12 weeks, inactive pills begin to be taken and menstrual bleeding occurs. Women who use these pills have menstrual bleeding three times a year. In addition to all these types of birth control pills, there are also pills that contain only progesterone hormone. These pills, also called mini pills, are preferred for women who cannot take estrogen hormone for various reasons. All pills taken during the cycle are active, and menstrual bleeding may or may not occur while taking progesterone-containing pills. Combination pills containing the hormones estrogen and progesterone come in different varieties. These drugs, sold in pharmacies in monthly packages, contain 21 or 28 days of pills. For 21 pieces, there is a 7-day break when the box is finished. Those containing 28 tablets are used without a break. Some extended cycle pills contain the pills required for a 91-day cycle. Pills containing only progesterone hormone contain 28 pills for 28 days. Regardless of the type, birth control pills should be taken at the same time every day, as recommended by the physician or pharmacist. Taking the pills correctly, regularly and at the same time is of great importance for the effectiveness of birth control and the highest level of protection.
Birth Control Pill Side Effects
Birth control pills are a safe and effective contraceptive agent for many women. However, since they are hormone-containing drugs, they have various side effects that vary from person to person. Each woman’s body may react differently to the hormones contained in the birth control pill. However, common side effects of the pills include:
- Decrease in sexual desire
- Stomach ache
- weight gain
- Tightness, fullness and tenderness in the breasts
- Intermittent bleeding between menstrual periods
- mood changes
The above side effects are usually seen intensely in the first weeks or months of starting birth control pill use. Later, as the body gets used to the pills, it gradually decreases and disappears. It is useful to consult a doctor about pills that last a long time or cause serious discomfort. In some cases, when a birth control pill causes too many side effects in a person, it may be necessary to switch to a different type of pill. In addition to the side effects mentioned, another side effect of birth control pills is that they increase the risk of blood clots. Especially pills consisting of a combination of estrogen and progesterone increase the likelihood of intravascular blood clots to a certain extent. This probability is quite low for healthy women, and the risk of clotting increases in many natural events such as pregnancy and birth. However, the increase in the risk of blood clots may pave the way for negativities such as heart attack, hypertension and stroke. For this reason, it may be beneficial to choose different birth control methods for people with any health problems such as obesity, inactivity, long-term bed rest, hypertension or bleeding disorders. For these and similar reasons, women who want to start using birth control pills in family planning should first undergo a health check-up and then get advice from gynecologists. In some cases, women with various diseases may need to choose a different type of birth control pill or not prefer the use of these pills. Likewise, it is beneficial for women who use birth control pills to have regular gynecological examinations and routine tests.
If you are thinking of starting to use birth control pills as a birth control method, you can consult gynecology specialists to find out whether you are suitable for protection with this method, and if your doctor deems it appropriate, you can start using the medication your doctor will recommend.